Friday, October 28, 2011

FEATURED AUTHOR: Mimi Jefferson

Mimi Jefferson was raised by a single mother and grew up longing for a father. As a young woman, she searched for validation and acceptance in men and accomplishments. Broken and discouraged by life, she knew she needed a change. At the age of 25, she started out on her journey to wholeness. She found the love she was searching for in Jesus Christ. It wasn’t enough for Mimi to obtain wholeness; she wanted to bring other single women along for the journey. Eager to share her path to restoration, she completed her debut novel, The Single Sister Experiment.

In 2007, Mimi signed a contract with a major publishing company. The Single Sister Experiment has sold thousands of copies and ministered to women young and old throughout the country. Readers relate to her brutal honesty, real-life experience, believable characters, and encouraging style. Mimi’s long awaited second novel The Bride Experiment, was released in September 2011.

Mimi is passionate about ministry and has spoken to countless women in book clubs, women’s conferences, Bible Studies, workshops, and churches. She is a graduate of the College of Biblical studies with a B.S. in Christian Ministry. She lives in the Houston area with her husband and daughters.

How did you start out your writing career?

I had a conversation with a friend over lunch. Throughout the lunch my friend's cell phone kept ringing; different women were calling him. After answering the phone one time he looked at me and said something like, “I haven't spoken to her in weeks, but I bet I could convince her to have sex with me again. She will probably resist at first, asking me where I've been and why I haven't I called. But eventually she'll give in.” Later on he answered the phone again and after hanging up with yet a different woman he said something to the effect of, "You know, you women don't know your power. You are selling yourselves too short.”

I was alarmed. I heard how he was talking to the women on the phone. They had no idea he really believed they had power they had failed to tap into. I wondered if I had failed to tap into my power. Did all women have it? I know it makes absolutely no sense, but that night I started writing what is now the first chapter to The Single Sister Experiment. I believed that if someone gathered all the single women in the world and told them just how powerful they were, lives would change. I wanted women to meet, talk, and eventually unleash their undiscovered power. I knew there was no way that all single women could get together in one place, so I created a fictional meeting place. That’s how I started writing!

What did you learn while writing this book?

When I wrote my first novel I had plenty of free time. I can remember writing for hours and hours in one sitting. This was not the case with my second book. I found out my completed manuscript was due to my editor the same month I was expecting a baby. I was also caring for our two-year-old at the time. This scripture, Job 42:2 came alive for me as I wrote this novel. It says, “I know that you can do all things; no plan of yours can be thwarted.”

What did you hope to accomplish with this book?

When they reach the last page I want readers to feel as if they connected with James, Raquel, Joan, Tisha, and Lila. My goal was to create characters so human they jumped off the page. I want readers to cheer for them, to be angry with them, to laugh with them, and to cry right along with them. I know I've read a good novel when three things happen. First, I start talking about the characters as if they are friends of mine. Secondly, I'm telling everybody I know they need to read this book! Thirdly, long after I have finished the book the characters still cross my mind.

Which character did you have the most fun writing about?

I thought long and hard about my character Joan. I wanted her to be believable. That meant she had to make mistakes, confront challenges, lie if she thought it was necessary, make wise decisions and sometimes make really stupid decisions. I wanted a woman every woman could relate to. She's not based on one woman I know. She's based on every woman I know. Joan's complicated, she can be confident one moment and insecure the next. She loves her only child James Jr. but sometimes her actions don't show it. She would trade the world to have the complete enduring love of one man but you will never get her to admit it. It's easy for her to forgive other people but she has a hard time forgiving herself.

I have been known to journal through my characters eyes in order to hone in to what really motivates them and to get closer to that secret part of themselves that they would never open up to public scrutiny.

What has surprised you most about becoming a published author?

I am surprised that my readers take the time to email me. What a blessing!

What aspect of writing do you love the best, and which do you hate the most?

I love those divine connection moments. For some people my books are much more than entertainment. Once I told a lady what my first novel was about and she started crying. We were in the middle of a bookstore. She had recently decided to make some changes in her life. My presence was simply confirmation from God. It still amazes me that my books find people at just the right time.

Some days it is hard to remain disciplined. There are times, especially early in the morning; I want to run from my computer.

What are three things you wish you’d known before you reached where you are now?

1. People who you love may be the first to block your progress.
2. God is not in the business of making you more like Christians, but making you more like Christ.
3. Christian fiction is more powerful than you ever imagined.

Can you give us one do and one don’t for those aspiring to be a writer?

Do trust that God’s timing is perfect.
Don’t expect it to be easy

What one thing about writing do you wish other non-writers would understand?

I’m not an expert on the publishing industry.

If you could be a character from any book you've read, who would you be?

The Proverbs 31 woman from the Bible. We have a running joke in our house that the Proverbs 31 woman had to have been married for 31 years. That’s why she was such a good wife and mother. She had a lot of practice. So when it’s 5pm and I still don’t know what’s for dinner or it’s time for dance class and I can’t find my daughter’s leotard; I remind my husband that we have only been married for five years. Thus, I’m only a Proverbs 5 woman!

When you're not writing, what do you like to do in your spare time?

I like to read and watch cooking shows. I have a collection of cookbooks. Maybe one day I’ll actually use them.

What do you do to interact with your readers?

I launched The Single Sister Experiment Yahoo Group with the release of my first novel.
In this group we discuss the characters as well as real life situations. We also share praise reports, prayer requests, and testimonies. Members can ask me questions about my work. They are also notified about my book events, interviews, and speaking engagements. I’m on Facebook and am currently working on a new ministry site, I hope to launch it soon.

Our theme for this month is BUSINESS OF WRITING. What were you surprised by about the business side of writing?

The business side of writing can be overwhelming. I was completely unprepared. There is so much to learn. I am still learning.

Oprah always asks, What do you know for sure?

Obey God and leave the consequences to Him.

Can you give us a sneak peek of your next book? How can readers get in contact with you? (mail, email, website)

I am working on The Marriage Experiment: What Happens When the Honeymoon is Over? I am so excited about this book. However, it is still in the early stages. It will be about three newly married couples tackling the first year of marriage.

http://mimijefferson.com/
info@mimijefferson.com
http://facebook.com/mimijefferson

The Bride Experiment: What Happens When Single Women Get Fed Up?



James has been playing both his fiancée Raquel and on-again-off-again girlfriend Joan for so long, it’s about time his actions caught up to him. Except this womanizing cad is about to get more than he ever could have bargained for when the sins of his past backfire in life-changing ways. James learns Raquel’s been harboring an explosive secret and plans to use it against him. But he beats her to the punch—turning the tables on her. The tragic events that ensue leave him spiraling out of control, until he gets introduced to a group of single men who love God intensely and treat women like precious jewels. Living for the Lord brings a multitude of unexpected consequences for James. But can a ladies’ man really become God’s man?




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Wednesday, October 26, 2011

THE BUSINESS OF WRITING

Here are few links to help you with the business side of writing.

FAQS About the Business of Writing


15 Gail Carriger: The Business of Writing


The Business Side of Writing (Part 2)


The Business Side of Writing and Speaking (a blog about the business side of writing)



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Tuesday, October 25, 2011

COLUMN: Are You On The Net?


Online Promotion Plan VIIII

18. Have you researched the online magazines that promote your genre?


19. Have you created a list of online magazines you want to be featured in?


20. Have you requested interviews from these magazines?


21. Have you researched their advertisement prices?



What I like about being online is there is something for everyone. For instance, if you write romances you probably will find a few sites that promote romances or if you write mystery you’ll find the mystery sites.

That can also be said for online magazines. When I started SORMAG there weren’t many online magazines. Now that story is different. There are a lot of online magazines that like to promote books and their writers.

RESEARCH

As with any magazine, most have a schedule they work with. I highly recommend that you do your research well before approaching them.

Find the magazines that promote your genre. In your research look to see if they promote other genres too (for example, SORMAG started as a romance magazine, over the years we moved to promoting all literature, so you might find a romance or a mystery or even history book featured.)

So do not count the magazine out if they promote one genre, your book might still interest their audience. This is where articles come in. You can write an article for them and still get a chance to promote your book in your bio.

• Find out what their guidelines are.

• How do they want you to introduce yourself?

• Do they want you to send a book for review?

• Do they offer guest spots or articles?

• Do they offer free promotion or only paid promotion?

• Look at their paid promotion?

• It is something that fits into your budget?

CREATE A LIST

Before you start get your calendar out and look at your release date. This will help in setting the time frame for your promotions.

I recommend you have at least:

• Three promotions a month before the release date. You want to get the reader ready for the book, they also can do pre-orders.

• Four promotions the week it releases.

• Three promotions after the releases, you want to catch those readers who might have missed the previous promotions.

• That’s ten promotions.

You can decide how you want to break the promotions up between free and paid promotions. Your budget will determine this.

Create a list with 10 magazines to get you started. You can always go higher once you get the hang of approaching magazines.

Start off with the free promotion. Set up your interviews or promotions by sending your letter of introduction. Offer to be interviewed, do a guest post or write an article.

Do not expect to get a promotion the month you contact them. If you book is coming out, try to schedule your interview three – six months in advance. Remember most magazines are on a schedule of three – six months in advance.

INTERVIEWS

Please remember to meet the magazine’s deadlines. There’s nothing like having an interview scheduled and the author doesn’t send back the information for the interview. Don’t have the magazine chasing you down. Always be professional and send your interview or article back on time.

Include a picture of yourself and your book. This helps the editor not have to go in search of this information.

Get a date when your interview/article will go live. Send out to your friends, family and fans. Stop by the site/blog to see if the interview/article is live. Leave a comment or answer questions if there are any.

Send a thank you note to the magazine for featuring you and offer your services for future issues.

With your next book, remember to support this magazine if it offers paid promotion. Schedule them into your budget. Remember if you don’t support them, they can’t support you.

PAID PROMOTION

One of the things I learned when I sold Mary Kay Cosmetics is that you have to spend money to make money. This is so true when it comes to promoting your books. You want to reach as many readers that you can, which means sometimes you have to pay for promotion.

In your research you’ve found the magazines that offer paid promotion. Check out their advertising page. Look at the promotions that fit your budget. Sometimes magazines will work with you and your budget. ASK, all they can do is say no.

Select the promotion that fits your budget and send them the information they need to create the promotion.

Ask for a date it will go live and make sure you receive a copy of the promotion or know where it is located.

Send the link to your friends, family and fans.

Let the magazine know you saw the ad and if you liked or didn’t like it.

Refer your friends if the magazine did a good promotion.

Remember with any promotion, paid or free, there is no guarantee of a sale. The object of promotion is to introduce your book to new readers. Keeping your name in front of the readers is your goal.

PROMOTING

Promoting with an online magazine can be fun and interactive. Some offer chats and other ways to interact with their readers. Take time to get to know the magazines. Build a relationship with them. If you plan on building a writing career, magazines can help you do that.

Don’t expect to continue to receive freebies when you’re not supporting them. Magazines are loyal to those who are loyal to them. Always remember this is a business. We need each other to stay in business.

Next month we will break down more of these questions to help you continue to build your plan.

Did you miss the other parts - Online Promotion Plans

Can’t wait to next month, contact me –sormag@yahoo.com.  I’m available for private online promotion coaching.

Until then,

I’ll see you on the net.

LaShaunda C. Hoffman

LaShaunda is the creator of SORMAG – Shades Of Romance Magazine. She has 11 years of experience on online promotion, most she learned from trial and error. She has taught workshops on online promotion and is available for private online promotion coaching.


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Friday, October 21, 2011

FEATURED AUTHOR: Monique D. Mensah


Monique D. Mensah is an award winning novelist with an innate love for the written word. After graduating from the University of Michigan with a bachelor’s degree in business management, she went on to pen her first novel, WHO IS HE TO YOU. Shortly after, she founded Kisa Publishing and published her debut novel, launching a fulfilling career as a critically acclaimed author. Through a loyal fan base and a strong word-of-mouth following, Monique’s titles have topped the Amazon Kindle bestseller lists for several months. She has been featured on the Michael Baisden Show and has won numerous awards, including the 2010 Best Books awards for African-American Fiction. Monique resides in Southfield, MI, with her daughter, where she works full-time at a private university. She is also the principal and founder of Make Your Mark Editing Services. She is currently working on a new, thrilling novel for anxious readers and book clubs nationwide.

How did you start out your writing career?

I had two false starts: one when I was about ten and again when I was 13, but I officially started my writing career in 2007 when I began writing my first novel, Who Is He To You. I was working in the mortgage industry, making a decent living and providing a fairly comfortable life for my daughter and me, but I felt trapped and unfulfilled. I couldn’t pinpoint the reason why, but I was just unhappy. I was complaining to my best friend one day about how unhappy I was, and she said the simplest thing, “Why don’t you just write a book?” She was one of the few people I had shared my dream with. I’d been daydreaming about being an author since I was eight years old, and she brought everything into perspective for me with those seven words. I started writing my debut that weekend. After finishing and shopping around for an agent, I decided to self-publish in 2009 through my independent publishing company, Kisa Publishing. Now, I’m working on my fourth book.

What did you learn while writing this book?

I learned that I can always get better. I saw growth in my writing from book one to book two, and then again from book two to three. Smoke Screen showed me that I have the potential to be better than I ever imagined I could be. I remember going back and reading what I wrote, after finishing the first chapter and thinking, Wow! I wrote that? That’s pretty good! It made me hungry for more. It made me read more and research my craft more; so I could feed this growing and improving talent. I learned that I can outdo myself, and I’ll try to do just that with each book.

What did you hope to accomplish with this book?

I wrote Smoke Screen based mostly on reader demand. It’s a sequel (ten years later) to my first book, Who Is He To You. When I wrote WIHTY, I had no intention of penning a sequel. It’s a complete story, and I had nowhere else for the characters to go, but the readers wanted to know about Simone. What happened to Simone? I decided that if I was going to write a sequel, it would be more than just a continuation of the previous title. It would have its own story, completely independent from WIHTY; so I started Smoke Screen. In writing this book, I believe that I satisfied those expecting a sequel while providing a fresh new story so readers wouldn’t get bored with the same characters. Smoke Screen is a who-done-it, a suspenseful tale about a female serial killer, and it’s the readers’ job to find out which of her favorite characters from Who Is He To You is the killer.

Which character did you have the most fun writing about?

The Man Eater was an absolute blast to write. She’s a serial killer, killing the men that she sleeps with. But before she ends his life with a ten-inch blade, she takes the most expensive brand of cigarette and brands his most intimate area with her seal of approval. The Man Eater is smart, witty, sarcastic, and crazier than a bat. She uses Bible verses to justify her actions, and she has an interesting outlook on life. With the Man Eater, I got to be a completely different person, outside of the flawed everyday woman I usually write about. With her, I could say and do whatever the hell I wanted, and it was perfectly okay because she was a loony serial killer! Sounds like fun, doesn’t it?

What has surprised you most about becoming a published author?

I think I was most surprised by how much of an impact my writing has had on some readers. I’ve had people confessing some of their most painful and intimate secrets after reading Who Is He To You. What I didn’t realize before publishing my work is that I automatically became an “expert” on the topics I wrote about, and I had to prepare myself for that role. I began to speak on self-esteem, self-image, and abusive relationships at events, when I thought I was just writing this stuff for entertainment. I never knew that I would touch so many lives, but I’m glad that I did.

What aspect of writing do you love the best, and which do you hate the most?

Believe it or not, I don’t care for the actual process of writing. I find it difficult to buckle down and actually articulate my crazy and jumbled ideas into a 300-page manuscript that will capture and maintain readers’ attention. Trying to balance the duties of promoting my current works with writing my new book only makes time management and writing that much harder.

I absolutely love reading what I’ve written and saying to myself, “I wrote that?!” It always renews my faith in myself. I do have times when I feel insecure, and going back and reading my stuff, proving to myself just what I’m capable of, always reignites my fire. I also love getting feedback from readers. It’s so cool to get another person’s aspect on my stories, especially when they’ve gotten something out of it that even I didn’t see when I wrote it.

What are three things you wish you’d known before you reached where you are now?

I wish I had done more research on editing when I first started my career. Had I known hiring a proofreader after editing was a best practice, I certainly would have used it. I also would have chosen a better copyeditor for my work. I wish I had known sooner that the self-publishing stigma is quickly diminishing. I sat on my first novel for a year and a half after trying to get an agent and get published by a major publishing house before I actually started the self-publishing process. Agents and publishers are now picking up self-published authors who have proved that they can be successful on their own. Had I known that, I would have gotten started in 2007 rather than 2009. I also wish I had known how supportive and embracing the black literary community is. I was so afraid to come out and approach other authors, afraid to ask questions and speak up because I thought that I would be considered a nuisance, and some authors may feel that way, but the majority of authors that I’ve met in my journey have been helpful, warm, and embracing. I had no reason to be afraid.

Can you give us one do and one don’t for those aspiring to be a writer?

DO read as much as you can to soak up the craft. Read often, and in different genres than your own. Trust me, it shows! It gives you versatility and range to appeal to a wider audience. It just makes you an all-around better writer, and who doesn’t want that?

DON’T try to write just to follow a trend or imitate someone else’s voice. That shows too. Readers can tell when you’re not being sincere. They can tell when you’re trying to be someone that you’re not. If it doesn’t come to you naturally or passionately, don’t do it. Learn from other authors, but take what you’ve read and make it your own. Develop your own voice, and use it to make your mark in the literary world.

What one thing about writing do you wish other non-writers would understand?

I wish that some non-writers would understand that this is not a get rich quick scheme, that the writers and authors, who are serious about this, do this because it’s their passion. We love it. It’s an art and a form of expression and, although “getting rich” would be nice, it’s not the driving force. Understand that this is something that we take seriously, and although some of us may make it look easy, it’s not. If anybody could do it, it wouldn’t be a respected art and occupation.

When you're not writing, what do you like to do in your spare time?

I read a lot, as I believe every serious writer should. I have a nine-year-old daughter, and I love hanging out with her. Some of our favorite things to do are going out to eat, to the movies, or getting mani/pedis at the spa. I like the theatre. I love a good play. But I also enjoy time to myself. That could mean sitting at home on the couch, watching reality TV with a glass of wine.

What do you do to interact with your readers?

I’m very active on Facebook, and encourage readers to join my personal page as well as my fan page. I want them to get to know the real me beyond just being an author. I’m a real person, with real opinions, and life experiences, and I think letting my readers in on that gives us a deeper connection. I also send out newsletters, I respond to all emails and messages. I just try to make myself as accessible as possible for my readers, because I understand that they are not just buying into my work, they’re buying into me. Plus, it’s the least I could do to show my appreciation for their support.

Our theme for this month is BUSINESS OF WRITING. What were you surprised by about the business side of writing?

I didn’t have too many surprises because I did a lot of research before my first book came out. I would say, the only thing that still shocks me is how difficult it is to balance book promotion and book writing. I’m still struggling with that. Pile that on with a full-time job and a kid, and you’ve got one crazy, hectic life.

Oprah always asks, What do you know for sure?

I know “for sure” that I will continue to be successful. This is something that I believed before I had published my first book. I will be successful. I believe that I’ve been blessed with a talent and it’s my responsibility to share it with the world. It’s my purpose, and as long as I’m fulfilling my purpose, I will be successful. I’ve only been doing this for a little over two years, and so far my theory is proving me correct. I have a long way to go on this journey; but I feel as if I’m on the right track, and it’s all because I know for sure that I will be successful.

Can you give us a sneak peek of your next book?

Nemesis, due Summer 2012, is about an 18-year-old girl who has just killed her mother. That’s about all I can tell you without giving the story away. I’m still writing; so I haven’t worked out the quick and catchy synopsis. I’ll end up rambling on and on, and telling the whole story. But I can guarantee that it will have a lot of the same drama, suspense, and twists that my books are known for.

How can readers get in contact with you? (mail, email, website)

I’m all over the place. Email me at Monique@MoniqueDMensah.com. Visit my website to read the first chapters of all three of my novels, watch trailers, and purchase autographed copies at http://www.moniquedmensah.com/ . I’m on Facebook: www.Facebook.com/MoniqueDMensah, Twitter: www.Twitter.com/MoniqueDMensah, and I have a new project that I’ve just launched with six other authors of different genres, Pound Seven Presents . . . And the Plot Thickens. We’re writing one story together, but the catch is, we haven’t discussed the plot between us; so none of knows what’s next. We will watch the story unfold with the readers as we reveal a new chapter of the story every week at http://www.pound7.com/. It’s fresh fun, and FREE!

SMOKE SCREEN

Lauren, Ryan, and Simone meet again after the tragedy that brought them together ten years ago. A serial killer is on the loose, murdering men and leaving her mark, and each of these women has a motive to kill.
Simone, an advocate for sexually abused teens, has begun to heal her wounds, but she is still trying to reclaim her life, and an unexpected love interest only complicates things further. Ryan is willing to do whatever it takes to become a mother. But with a shameful ten-year secret bubbling to the surface, she may lose her husband—and her mind—in the process. Lauren, one of Detroit’s most prominent defense attorneys, redefines justice and seeks a way out of the career that has left her feeling trapped and torn. She can’t set her moral standards aside for a $400,000 salary, winning acquittals for the demonstratively guilty. But how far will she go to rid Detroit of its criminal filth?

As Lauren, Ryan, and Simone’s lives collide yet again, forcing them to deal with the tragedies of their pasts, the three women regretfully learn that no one is safe behind the thin shield of a Smoke Screen.

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Thursday, October 20, 2011

SHORT STORY: The Weight of the Heart by Sandie lee

The Weight of the Heart
By Sandie lee


“Three more. Two more. Come, on people,” commanded Tory, the perky fitness instructor. “Reaching your goals means pushing yourselves.”

Janet gasped as she lunged toward her out-stretched leg.

Easy for her to say, she thought. She’s not the one carrying around an extra fifty pounds. At least we’re sitting down – not so far to fall if I pass out.

Janet grunted, bent, and stretched out her fingers until they barely grasped her big toe. Sweat rolled down her face and dripped from her chin. She quickly wiped it on her shoulder as she heaved herself to the left.

“Good job, people!” Tory chimed.

Janet screamed in her head...why do I put myself through this torture? I could be sitting at home, eating my sorrows away. Oh...that’s right...I could be “eating” my resentment towards Charles for leaving me. At least, that’s what my therapist keeps telling me.

The class finally ended and Janet collapsed onto her back, panting hard. She closed her eyes and tried to bring her breathing back from race-horse-pace to normal.

“Good workout today, wouldn’t you say?”

Startled by the male voice, Janet popped up to a sitting position and looked at the man. He was gorgeous – tall dark and handsome; such a cliché but totally accurate in this case. Janet quickly glanced around to see who he was talking to, but he kept his eyes on her.

A blush spread across Janet’s face.

“Ah...yeah...fabu-”

Just then, Kim and Shelley, the resident hot-bodies, walked past, interrupting Janet’s response.

“Hi Todd,” they chimed in unison. Todd smiled and nodded back.

“Well, I guess I’ll see you around,” he said. He turned and followed the ladies out.

Janet watched him leave.

Why would Todd make a point of talking to me?

He was so good looking, and a fireman to boot. He could have anyone he wanted.

He was probably just being nice, she reasoned.

Janet gathered her towel and water bottle and headed to the change room. The showers weren’t full but her own self-consciousness won’t let her disrobe in front of the other women. Instead, she grabbed her gym bag, flung open the door and zigzagged her way around the equipment toward the front exit.

Suddenly she felt a light tap on her shoulder. She turned and to her surprise it was Todd.

“Hey. I’m glad I caught you,” he smiled brightly. “Would you like to join me for a fruit smoothie at the juice bar?”

Janet’s mind raced. Was this really happening?

“Ah...well...”

“My treat” he coaxed.

“Okay...sure,” was all she managed to sputter out.

They walked together to the sitting area and set their belongings in the corner of a booth.

“So, what’s your poison...strawberry, banana, acai berry?” Todd flashed another killer smile.

“Whatever you’re having is fine.” Janet slid herself into the booth and tried to slow her pounding heart.

“Great, triple soy chocolate it is,” he said.


When Todd returned with the drinks he placed one in front of Janet. He then slid into the booth across from her. His leg brushed hers and immediately Janet felt goose bumps crawl up her arm. She gave him a nervous, twitchy smile as she took a sip of the thick liquid.

“Hard to believe these are healthy,” he said, tipping the cup to his lips.

Janet nodded. And I can’t believe I’m sitting here.

“So, I’m Todd.” He stuck out his hand.

“I’m...a...Janet,” she said, grasping his fingers, giving a weak shake. They felt so strong.

“I guess I should apologize to you.”

Janet was puzzled.

“I’m not usually so forward,” he explained. “I had a horrible divorce...you know...once bitten twice shy and all that. But you don’t look like you’d bite my head off. So I thought, why not?”

Janet nodded. “I was wondering why you were being so nice to me.”

I’m a practice run.

Now it was Todd’s turn to look confused. “What do you mean?”

Janet tittered. “Didn’t you see Kim and Shelley in there?” She motioned with her head. “They were definitely into you.”

Todd smirked. “Really? Never noticed.”

Janet took another sip of her drink.

“Besides...you’re much more my type.”

Janet was shocked. “Why!? I’m so...so...unfit.”

That’s it, no more games. Be straight with people. (Dr. Harris would be proud).

Todd looked at her with such tenderness she thought she might burst into tears.

“I was once over weight myself,” he said. “Why do you think I endure this torture every week?”

He then gently grasped her hand. “Besides, the weight of the heart is only about 260 grams.” He held her stare with his soft brown eyes. “So, I’d say we’re good to go.”

Janet was speechless. But she let the warmth of his hand seep through her loneliness and into her soul.

The End

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Tuesday, October 18, 2011

COLUMN: Are You On The Net


Online Promotion Plan VIII

14. Have you researched the online book clubs?

15. Have you created a list of online book clubs that promote your genre?

16. Have you sent out letters of intro?

17. Have you scheduled chats or skype chats?

ONLINE BOOK CLUBS

Online book clubs are similiar to live book clubs, they feature authors and their books. Some even let you discuss the book with the members. Others might feature excerpts of your book. It’s a good way to meet new readers.

Contact your writer friends and see which online book clubs they deal with. Do a google search for online book clubs. Look for the ones that feature your genre. Read their guidelines carefully. You want to know how do they want you to submit your book? Don’t send your book without prior notice. You want to stay on their good side and you don’t want to send your book to someone who doesn’t read your genre.

LETTER OF INTRODUCTION

After the doing your research, now you ready to introduce yourself to the book clubs. Send out your emails and offer your services for a book discussion or chat with an author.

EXAMPLE:

Greetings in the name of literature,


My name is LaShaunda C. Hoffman. I'm currently promoting my new book and would like to introduce it to your book club

(Insert a blurb about the book here)


I hope this is something your book club would be interested in reading. I can send you a review copy if you like.


Please let me know if you would like to set up a book discussion or chat with me.


I look forward to working with you.


LaShaunda C. Hoffman
writerlch@yahoo.com



CHATS

You can do chats online in chat rooms or over the phone. Or you can do a skype chat. (Never skyped before, talk with your fellow authors for their advice or do a google search and see what you’re missing).

Do what makes you feel comfortable and remember to have fun.

TIPS
Have a few games to play.
Offer a couple a prizes to those who attend.
Send the book club a sneak peek of your next book and ask to be scheduled for another chat in the future.

Online book clubs can be a fun way to introduce your books to new readers and nice way for you to build your fan base.

Next month we will break down more of these questions to help you continue to build your plan.

Can’t wait to next month, contact me –sormag@yahoo.com.  I’m available for private online promotion coaching.

Until then,

I’ll see you on the net.

LaShaunda C. Hoffman

LaShaunda is the creator of SORMAG – Shades Of Romance Magazine. She has 11 years of experience on online promotion, most she learned from trial and error. She has taught workshops on online promotion and is available for private online promotion coaching.


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Monday, October 17, 2011

FEATURED AUTHOR: Jumata Emill Jones


Jumata Emill Jones is a native of Baton Rouge and a Southern University alum. When he’s not writing fiction, he divides his time working as a journalist and being a TV junkie. Never Dead is his first, published novel.

How did you start out your writing career?

When I was in the fourth grade, I wrote a little skit as part of a class assignment for my school’s “Just Say No” campaign. My teacher said she enjoyed it so much that she let me cast my friends in it and we got to act it out in front of my class. After receiving a myriad of praise from other students and faculty, I was hit by the writing bug and began crafting more little stories and skits that would begin shaping my future.

What did you learn while writing this book?

That sometimes, characters drive your story more than an outline does. When I first started Never Dead I had a precise idea about who was going to do what and what was going to happen. But once the characters made their first appearances on the page, they seemed to take over and said to me, “Yeah, that was a novel idea, but our lives aren’t that simple! This is what really happened!” Glad I listened to them, they had a far better story to tell!

What did you hope to accomplish with this book?

To give aficionados of African-American fiction something familiar, yet totally different than what they might have read before. I have always loved thrillers, paranormal fiction, horror and mystery books, but hardly ever found those genres when I visited the African American section of bookstores. About two weeks before I was inspired to write this book, I read a quote from Toni Morrison that simply stated, “If there is a book that you want to read and it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.” Those words resonated in me as I wrote this book.

Which character did you have the most fun writing about?

Tarrin! I empathized and related to his voice so much. He had such a vulnerability and realness to his story. No, he and I did not share similar lives by a long shot, but I had many friends that did. In a way, I guess I’m kind of envious of Tarrin. He said and did a lot of things I wish I had the courage to do when I was his age.

What has surprised you most about becoming a published author?

That writing the book is actually the easy part! Promotions, marketing, branding yourself—those are all things I’m still stumbling through. I just want to write good stories that people love, but there’s a whole other side to all of this that takes a lot of work. Getting myself out there, convincing people they should take a chance on me—and my work—is a daunting task that has made me more outgoing and fearless.

What aspect of writing do you love the best, and which do you hate the most?

The creative process; turning blank pages into page-turning entertaining books that people say they can’t walk away from. What do I hate most? Nothing.

What are three things you wish you’d known before you reached where you are now?

How much the Internet was going to complete reshape our lives today—and the job market. How to be a better salesman and how to trust myself more.

Can you give us one do and one don’t for those aspiring to be a writer?

Do write fearlessly. Craft a story that you want to read first and that will resonate to your readers. Don’t just follow the trends. Just because writing about vampires, relationships or sex may have worked for a bevy of other writers doesn’t mean it’s going to work for you too. When you write a story that doesn’t come from the heart of your creativity I think readers can tell and thereby not get invested in your work.

What one thing about writing do you wish other non-writers would understand?

That books don’t write themselves. Most times you have to give up on a social life for a few months to get the job done.

If you could be a character from any book you've read, who would you be?

I’d want to be the Vampire Lestat from Anne’s Rice’s “The Vampire Chronicles!” I love a good anti-hero.

When you're not writing, what do you like to do in your spare time?

Read and watch A LOT of television! I think it might actually be a crime how much I love television. I would say 50% of my tweets on Twitter have to do with some show I’m watching. I can literally sit on the sofa all day and watch TV for hours and be the most content man on the planet.

What do you do to interact with your readers?

I’m all about social media—Facebook and Twitter. I also try to post frequent blog updates on my website just to give fans updates on what I’m doing, where I’m going and what I’m thinking. Although my stories tend to chronicle the darker side of things in life, I’m a very witty, perky guy and I think my fans deserve to see that.

Our theme for this month is BUSINESS OF WRITING. What were you surprised by about the business side of writing?

That just when you think you’ve researched all you can reach about this industry, the rules change and you find yourself trying to catch up all over again.

Oprah always asks, What do you know for sure?

That I was born to be a writer. Point, blank, period.

Can you give us a sneak peek of your next book?

It features several characters from Never Dead and its set against the backdrop of a fictional historically black college located in a fictional Louisiana town. That’s all I’m saying…for now!

How can readers get in contact with you? (mail, email, website)

Email: jejauthor@aol.com
Twitter: www.twitter.com/JumataEmill
Website: http://www.jumataemilljones.com/


Never Dead


THE PERFECT COUPLE?

Emerson McGee has spent most of his life living with a secret, and the first-year law student’s menacing struggle with his sexuality is only the half of it. His wife, Danielle, has her own scars of adolescent heartache—which she thinly veils behind her façade as an upper-middle class princess. The newlywed’s cookie-cutter marriage is abruptly interrupted when they make a reluctant move into the quaint house Emerson inherited from his deceased grandmother. Unbeknownst to them, there’s already something else living there: A malevolent entity hell-bent on exposing its connection to Emerson and the tragic secret they share.

A GHOST’S STORY

While a mysterious narrator recounts the details of his abject life, the McGees' vengeful poltergeist pulls Danielle deeper into a mystery that has haunted an impoverished ghetto in South Baton Rouge—aptly called “‘Da Bottom”—for nearly a decade, and spills into the provocative world of New Orleans hoodoo. Before its final scare, Never Dead concludes with a bloody twist the McGees never saw coming.

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Friday, October 14, 2011

FEATURED AUTHOR: Ashea Goldson


Ashea Goldson, originally from Brooklyn, NewYork, and now residing in a Metro Atlanta suburb, is a graduate of Fordham University who calls herself a kingdom writer. She is a down to earth author, poet, educator, and entrepreneur who loves her family, friends, and the ministry. She spends her days passing on her love of reading and language to her students at the preparatory school she co-owns and operates. By evening she transforms herself into writer extraordinaire,when she is able to fully indulge her creative passions. Her novels are The Lovechild and Joy Comes In the Morning, both published by Kensington. Her third novel, Count It All Joy, is the sequel to Joy Comes, and has recently been released. She is currently working on her fourth Christian fiction novel which is the final book in the “joy” series. She is also working on a number of other independent projects. In addition to this she hosts a blogtalkradio show called WordThirst literary Journal & Authors Showcase which highlights the work of other like-minded authors and visionaries.

How did you start out your writing career?

Although I had written since I was very young, and had majored in journalism, after college,I began to focus on my new family, put my dreams on hold, and did not write at all for years. Despite myself, God gave me the revelation about writing being my purpose. I then began to diligently seek out opportunities to write, articles,plays, poetry, short stories, etc. I also joined a newly formed writers group founded by authors Tia McCollors and Sherri Lewis. Being with like-minded writers definitely inspired me to complete and submit my first novel. Once I understood my purpose, I haven’t stopped writing since.

What did you learn while writing this book?

I learned that I could actually write a sequel and still be in love with the characters.

What did you hope to accomplish with this book?

I hoped to show that God is with us even during difficult circumstances, and that if we will change our attitudes to line up with God’s word, to truly count it all joy, that we will come out victorious.

Which character did you have the most fun writing about?

I enjoyed writing the mother in law, Mother Benning. She is quite a strong character to say the least.

What has surprised you most about becoming a published author?

I guess I am most surprised or humbled by how many people tell me that they enjoyed the book and/or how it touched their lives personally.

What aspect of writing do you love the best, and which do you hate the most?

I love the creative process the most, actually writing the story. The part I hate the most is the business part-marketing and sales.

What are three things you wish you’d known before you reached where you are now?

1.Budget your advance payment carefully. 2. In marketing your book, you’re pretty much on your own 3.Bookstores do not necessarily account for the most book sales.

Can you give us one do and one don’t for those aspiring to be a writer?

1.Believe in yourself whether others do or not; therefore you must continue to write everyday. 2.Don’t submit work that is rough. Take some time to learn the craft through books, workshops, etc. Get your work critiqued and professionally edited so that your work will be clean. First impressions are everything.

What one thing about writing do you wish other non-writers would understand?

It is not as easy as it looks. It actually takes a lot of skill, imagination, organization, determination, resilience, etc.

If you could be a character from any book you've read, who would you be?

I would be Nettie from the Color Purple.

When you're not writing, what do you like to do in your spare time?

In my spare time I like to write poetry, listen to gospel music, hang out with my family, read a good book, or watch a good movie. I also love serving in ministry.

What do you do to interact with your readers?

I try to make myself available on Facebook, Twitter, and Linked In as well as on my website. I hope to encourage my readers to interact by offering free books and prizes.

Our theme for this month is BUSINESS OF WRITING. What were you surprised by about the business side of writing?

I was surprised by the extensive marketing that is required. If you don’t sell your book, then no one reads it and if no one reads it, then what was the point? You’ve got to spread the word.

Oprah always asks, What do you know for sure?

I know for sure that without the Lord, I could not have come this far on this journey that is my life.

Can you give us a sneak peek of your next book?

My next book is Let Joy Arise, the third and final book in the joy series. This book picks up where Count It All Joy leaves off . It follows Taylor’s story as she confronts her enemies in her own unique style.

How can readers get in contact with you? (mail, email, website)

asheagold@yahoo.com, www.asheagoldson.com , 1224 Gallatin Ct. Hampton. GA 30228


Count It All Joy

After a long, complex engagement, Alex and Joshua Benning feel like “happily ever after” is finally theirs. But the marriage may sour as soon-to-be minister Joshua starts pressuring Alex to start a family. Years ago, Alex suffered a botched abortion, and she still struggles from it. Joshua has his own issues. A widower who already has a five-year-old daughter, Joshua wants “the perfect family”—to the point of it being an obsession. There’s also a scandal brewing over a relationship with a possible surrogate and recent international adoption attempt in the mix. Soon all the drama makes the marriage seem unmanageable and things start falling apart. Can faith lead them back to the love they share and bring them back to joy?

BOOK TRAILER

video



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Thursday, October 13, 2011

Virtual Book Tour: The Temptation of a Good Man by Delaney Diamond


THE AUTHOR WILL BE GIVING AWAY: A $10 Amazon gift card and a kindle copy of Fight for Love to: a $10 Amazon gift card and an eBook copy of Fight for Love. For a chance to win, leave a comment for the Delaney.


Delaney Diamond

I was born and raised in the U.S. Virgin Islands. Since 1998, Atlanta, Georgia has been my home. I write sweet and sensual romance novels in the interracial and African-American subgenres and the Love & Romance in Color column for Night Owl Reviews Magazine. I read romance novels, mysteries, thrillers, and a fair amount of nonfiction. I wrote my first romance novel at the age of 14 and received rave reviews from my friends . I tapped out 89 pages on a typewriter and called it Captured Heart.

I’m a diehard foodie, so when my head’s not buried in a book, I’m in the kitchen trying out new recipes or dining at my favorite restaurants with friends. My other interests include holistic health, traveling, and frugal living.

Facebook fan page: www.facebook.com/DelaneyDiamond

Facebook personal profile: http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001990293210

Website and blog: http://www.delaneydiamond.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/delaneydiamond


How did you start out your writing career?

I wrote my first romance novel at the age of fourteen, but only friends saw it (does that count?). After high school I didn’t write anymore until I decided to give fiction writing a try in 2009. I joined the Romance Writers of America in January of 2010, and in November 2010 my debut novel, The Arrangement, was released by Amira Press.

What did you learn while writing this book?

While writing The Temptation of a Good Man, I learned a little about science, though much of it was over my head. Lol. Dr. Roarke Hawthorne is an astrophysicist who teaches physics at a university in Georgia. He’s just earned tenure when the book opens and is out celebrating with friends.

I learned the reason we see more stars in the sky outside of the city is because of light pollution. Light pollution happens when naturally occurring light levels are altered by artificial light. It’s a pain for astronomers, because it limits their ability to make good observations.

I also learned that I like incorporating humor into my books, and I plan to do so in the future.

What did you hope to accomplish with this book?

With each book I hope to entertain the readers and get them to them to fall in love with the characters. I want them to feel the same emotions the characters are feeling.

Which character did you have the most fun writing about?

I enjoyed writing Roarke’s character. Roarke is a bit complex because he’s really such a good guy. All his life he’s done what’s right, but then he falls in love with a woman who he thinks is involved with his brother. He knows what the right thing to do is, but it’s really hard for him because of his feelings for her. His feelings for Celeste not only challenge his own moral code, but they also create more friction between him and his brother.

What has surprised you most about becoming a published author?

How helpful other writers are! I envisioned writing would be a lonely task, and I’d pretty much be on my own trying to figure everything out. But writers are such a helpful bunch! I’ve received tips on marketing and writing, and just support in general. It’s a nice surprise.

What aspect of writing do you love the best, and which do you hate the most?

I love the story development. I’m not much of a plotter, so I start writing and let the story come to me. That’s the exciting part—when I start writing and can’t stop because my creative juices are flowing. I also love when readers stop by my fan page or my site and let me know they’ve enjoyed my work. It’s a great motivator, and who doesn’t like a pat on the back?

The part I like the least is the dreaded WRITERS BLOCK. (shivers) Lately I’ve been hearing people say there’s no such thing as writer’s block. I beg to differ. While it’s true there are times when we’re just being lazy or procrastinating, there are also times when as a writer, we just get stuck. At least I do. Or when I write a scene and realize it doesn’t work, but I don’t know how to change it so that it does work. That’s really tough. When I experience writer’s block, the best thing for me is to walk away and get busy doing something else. Time away from the manuscript often gives me a fresh perspective.

What are three things you wish you’d known before you reached where you are now?

1. How much time it would take to do marketing and promotion. Fortunately, I tend to be organized, so I’m learning to better manage my time by incorporating checklists and calendars. 2. I wish I’d known the importance of building a base of readers. Writers who start blogging and building their base on Facebook and other social media sites until their books are released are ahead of the game. 3. That not everyone will like what I write, and that’s okay. All I need to worry about is putting out the best product possible, and those who like it will keep coming back for more.

Can you give us one do and one don’t for those aspiring to be a writer?

Do - Learn all you can about writing and the publishing industry. Learn how to write prose that’s grammatically correct and as error-free as possible. Get a critique partner–not someone who’s related to you–or join a critique group to help you catch plot inconsistencies and mistakes (We all know it’s nearly impossible to edit yourself.).

Don’t - get discouraged when you receive rejection letters. Even bestselling authors get rejection letters. Don’t give up. You’ll eventually find a home for your manuscript.

What one thing about writing do you wish other non-writers would understand?

That writing is work. We love it, but it’s still work, and whether they love or hate what we wrote, we agonized over every word to make it as perfect as possible.

If you could be a character from any book you've read, who would you be?

Lexi Austin in Maureen Smith’s Tempt Me at Midnight. She’s sweet, but still independent, and she’s a chef who teaches cooking classes and has a cookbook out. And she ends up with sexy attorney Quentin Reddick. Lucky girl.

When you're not writing, what do you like to do in your spare time?

I like to travel and cook (see why I’d love to be Lexi?). If I had more money, I’d travel more. I also like to relax by reading and watching movies. I don’t watch a lot of TV, but when I do, I have a few must-see shows: Law & Order SVU (I’m sad that Elliott’s gone!), Happy Endings, and Modern Family.

What do you do to interact with your readers?

I spend time on GoodReads and talk books with the readers. We also talk about all kinds of other topics, too. I have a fan page and a blog, where I encourage readers to participate. On FB every now and again I send out questions to solicit responses about love, relationships, books, etc. I use my blog to share information about myself and bring guests to cover topics I think readers (and my fellow writers) would enjoy reading. I love when readers participate by commenting.

Our theme for this month is Online Marketing. What online marketing have you found works well for you?

Just spending time talking to readers seems to work pretty well. I do that in Yahoo romance groups and on GoodReads. I’ve recently discovered the power of blog tours and blog hops. It’s a good way for me to introduce my work to a wider audience and find new readers.

This is SORMAG’s 11th Anniversary online. Would you like to offer us anniversary congrats?

Congratulations on all your success, and I wish you much more success in the years to come.

Oprah always asks, What do you know for sure?

Live, Laugh, Love should be everyone’s daily mantra!

Can you give us a sneak peek of your next book?

My next book is a sweet romance and an opposites attracts story. Julia Newman doesn’t have time for love. Been there, done that, and she’s got the scars to prove it. Instead, she’s focused on her career. For the past few years, she has been living the life she wants. She drives a silver Mercedes, just purchased a four bedroom house in a suburb of Atlanta, Georgia, and she’s on her way to becoming the youngest female partner in the history of the venture capitalist firm where she works. Life couldn’t be better. Or so she thought.

Frederico “Freddie” Mendoza is the owner of Mendoza Construction. He hasn’t given up on love, but he is fed up with women who are fascinated by the fantasy of being with a blue collar man and then relegate him to a certain part of their lives. His newest customer, Julia Newman, is the kind of woman he’s decided he’ll avoid from now on. He needs to work on expanding his business. Besides, she’s not his type. Or so he thought.

How can readers get in contact with you? (mail, email, website)

Email: delaneydiamond(at)ymail.com
Website and blog: www.delaneydiamond.com
Facebook fan page: www.facebook.com/delaneydiamond
Twitter: @delaneydiamond


Can true love be found after one night of passion?

Celeste Burton goes out with her girlfriends to celebrate turning thirty and winds up spending an unforgettable night with the man of her dreams. One week later, as a favor, she attends a wedding with a friend as his date and is shocked when she sees Roarke again.

Roarke Hawthorne despises cheating. Cheating tore apart his family years ago. When the physics professor sees the woman he spent the night with show up at his sister’s wedding on the arm of his brother, he knows he should keep his distance. But because of the night they set fire to the sheets in his hotel room, he can’t resist the urge to be close to her–nor can he resist the temptation to have her back in his bed.

Excerpt 

He chuckled. “The etymology of names is kind of a hobby of mine.”
“Really?” She looked skeptical.
“What, you doubt me? Pick almost any name, and I can give you the origin and the meaning.”
“No way.”
“I’m serious. Pick one. Make it good.”
She screwed up her face into the cutest little scowl, exaggerating her efforts at concentration. “How about . . . Celeste?”
He spread his palms wide. “Come on—too easy. Give me a harder one.”
She put a hand on her hip. “You don’t know, do you?”
He cast an incredulous look in her direction, unable to believe she’d challenged him. “What? Are you questioning me, my skills, and my honesty?”
She cast her gaze upward toward the ceiling as if to think about it. “Umm . . .” Her gaze lowered again. “Yes.”
“Do you even know what your name means?”
“Of course!” Her indignation was adorable.
“All right, then. It would have been a shame for a man whose life centers around astronomy to not know this one. The name Celeste is derived from Latin. It means ‘from the heavens.’ Heavenly.” He couldn’t take his eyes off of her, and he shouldn’t have edged closer.
The smile on her face made a downward slide. Her throat muscles worked a slow swallow. “Correct,” she said.

“I know.” Roarke rested his elbow on top of the back of the sofa and let his forefinger play with a lock of her hair. She didn’t move away. The back of his hand lightly grazed more of the fine strands. With Herculean strength he resisted the urge to grab a handful. “So what do I get?” he asked.

“I don’t—I don’t know what you mean.”
“You challenged me, and I won. Don’t I get something?”
“You want a prize?”
“Yes.”

A look of uncertainty crossed her face, but after a few seconds, she offered, “How about a hug?”
“A hug is nice, but I’d rather have a kiss.” At her look of alarm, he amended his request. “On the cheek.”
Her brow furrowed in an indication of distrust. “You’re not going to do that thing where you turn at the last minute so I end up kissing you on the mouth, are you?”

Not a bad idea. “No, I’m not. I’m one of the good guys, remember?”
“Good guys don’t coerce kisses from women they just met,” Celeste pointed out.

Undeterred, one corner of his mouth lifted into a half smile. “Actually, they do.”

The pink tip of her tongue peeked out to moisten her lips. His mouth went dry as he watched the fleeting movement. In slow motion she leaned forward and pressed her mouth to his cheek. His jaw hardened on impact, and warmth spread along the side of his face. The light fragrance of her perfume—peaches? apricots?—invaded his nostrils and dismantled his resolve to remain impassive.

He couldn’t resist holding her in place, smashing the soft curls against the back of her head. He heard the sudden inhalation of her breath as he brushed his hair-roughened cheek against the silky-smooth softness of hers.

“That wasn’t so bad, was it?” he asked in a thick voice.

He’d tried to sound nonchalant, as if they were having a normal conversation, but there was nothing normal about his attraction to her. He dipped his head and pressed a quick kiss to the underside of her jaw. She shivered, and she reached out and sank her fingers into his upper arm. The warmth of her touch sent his heart rate escalating at a dangerous pace.
With his hand securely at the nape of her neck, his gaze locked with hers. She’d roused something in him. A powerful, consuming need that made him question the workings of his normally logical brain, now clouded in a befuddling haze of lust.

Her wild-eyed stare signaled her own confusion. “No, it wasn’t,” she whispered.



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Tuesday, October 11, 2011

BOOK SPOTLIGHT: Deeply Devoted by Maggie Brendan


She is staking her future on a man she's never met. Can she learn to love him?

 
When Catharine Olsen leaves Holland for Wyoming as a mail-order bride, she brings some extra baggage with her: two sisters, her mother's set of Blue Willow china, and a tragic past. As she steps off the train, Peter Andersen is glad to see that she is everything her letters showed her to be. But he is a bit perturbed by her unexpected companions. How will he support them all? And what other secrets might Catharine be keeping from him?

Filled with sweet romance and vivid characters, Deeply Devoted highlights a clash of cultures as a highborn European and a simple wheat farmer learn to love one another and trust God with the past--and the future.

Maggie Brendan is the author of No Place for a Lady, The Jewel of His Heart, and A Love of Her Own. A member of the American Fiction Writers Association, Romance Writers of America, and Georgia Romance Writers, Maggie lives in Georgia. Visit her at http://www.maggiebrendan.com/.

My Review

Deeply Devoted - 3 1/2 STARS - GREAT

I’ve never read a book by Maggie Brendan so I didn’t know what to expect from this book. I was hoping for a good love story and I was not disappointed. She introduced Catherine Olsen a young lady from Holland who agrees to be a farmer in Wyoming mail order bride. What she didn’t tell him in her letters, that she was the guardian of her two younger sisters and they would be coming to America with her.

Peter Andersen was smitten with the woman he had been corresponding with and agreed to her sisters living with them. He was a little disturbed that she didn’t mention them in her letters and hoped she didn’t have any other things to hide.

Peter’s mom, Clara had other plans for her son and they didn’t include marrying some stranger from Holland. She decided to find out more about her new daughter-in-law even if it destroyed her relationship with her son.

This story was the perfect example about keeping secrets in a relationship especially a marriage. The truth always has a way of coming into the light.

I enjoyed Ms. Brendan flow of words. She made me feel as if I were right there in Wyoming with Catherine and Peter. I’m looking forward to reading more of her books. If you’re looking for a historical with a lot of romance pick up a copy of Deeply.

A complimentary copy of this book was provided by Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group for review purposes.


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BOOK SPOTLIGHT: A Heart Revealed by Julie Lessman

She Left Ireland And A Man Who Broke Her Heart...
Only To Find An American Who Could Restore It.


Julie Lessman’s new novel A Heart Revealed (ISBN: 978-0-8007-3416-9, $14.99, 512 pages, September), the second offering in the “Winds of Change” series, opens in Boston in 1931, where thirty-one-year-old Emma Malloy has fled from an abusive marriage in Ireland.

Although her former husband has left her haunted and deeply scarred. Emma cannot help but develop strong feelings for her friend Charity’s brother, Sean O’Connor.

Described by his sister as very stubborn, Sean maintains that he is not the marrying kind. But as he and Emma draw closer and closer, will her strong, tender heart ensnare him and change his mind?

Transporting readers back to a time when the Empire State Building was brand new and the local speakeasy was a common destination, Lessman outlines the fascinating era and its citizens with deft precision.

Lessman, who has been hailed as a writer with noteworthy skill by Publishers Weekly has once again delivered an epic tale featuring vibrant characterization, wonderful thrills, sharp dialogue, and surprises both large and small.

Julie Lessman is an award-winning author whose books give readers “Passion With a Purpose,” underscoring her intense passion for both God and romance. Julie is the recipient of 13 Romance Writers of America awards and was chosen as #1 Romance Fiction Author of the Year in the Family Fiction magazine 2011 Readers Choice Awards. She was the winner of the 2009 ACFW Debut Author of the Year and Holt Medallion Awards of Merit for Best First Book and Long Inspirational. She resides in Missouri with her husband, daughter, son and daughter-in-law and is the author of “The Daughters of Boston” series, which includes A Passion Most Pure, A Passion Redeemed, and A Passion Denied. Her “Winds of Change” series has recently released with A Hope Undaunted, which ranked #5 on Booklist’s Top 10 Inspirational Fiction for 2010. You can contact Julie through her website at http://www.julielessman.com/.


“Available at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.”

MY REVIEW

A Heart Revealed - 4 STARS - EXCELLENT

I am a huge fan of Julie Lessman, so I’m always ready for her next book. One of my favorite characters from her stories is Emma Malloy. She is probably one the most humble characters I’ve ever read. I was happy to know this would be her story. If anyone deserved a good man Emma was the one. However there was one small problem, she was still married.

I was eager to find out how she would get out of this little dilemma. Ms. Lessman took me on a romantic journey. She threw every conflict at poor Emma, I was quickly reading to see how she would get herself out it.

As much as Emma fought falling for Sean O’Connor, the Lord had other plans. Emma pushed him off on another woman, hoping he’d fall in love; Sean even stopped working at the shop together thinking his feelings would go away.

These poor love sick souls, were they destined to be apart? You have to pick up the book to see if Ms. Lessman finds a way for them to be happy together.

A complimentary copy of this book was provided by Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group for review purposes.


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Monday, October 10, 2011

FEATURED AUTHOR: Pheare Alexander


Pheare Alexander is the newest sadistic mind in contemporary psychological and horror fiction. Due to her own mental instability much of her history is unknown. She has said most of her life has been spent reading and thus writing her own tales soon followed. Anyone allowed to speak directly to Pheare has found that she tends to mix her own reality with the fiction she creates. Her writings reveal horrific tales of murder, fantasy, morality and the exploration into the decay of the human mind. Pheare believes one of her own characters, Warden Francine Christian, is holding her hostage in a mental facility she created called the Cather House. Pheare arrived to the facility mute. She has only communicated through her writings in her own blood via a self inflicted wound. The facility is said to be located somewhere just outside of Chicago, Illinois.

How did you start out your writing career?

At an early age, my reality was comforted by fantasy. I figured out characters in books had problems worse than my own. In the pages of books I found freedom, but by turn of the last page my own reality sat next to me like a scorn lover. Left feeling neglected reality fought hard for my attention. I started to hide from it. Books and movies provided that hiding place. I like to think of movies as a kiss goodnight and books as a romantic weekend. The romantic weekends started getting shorter. Each book was a tall glass of water and after running for miles from my reality I was thirsty. I guzzled the book in one sitting. A constant daydreamer I started creating worlds. With my reality close on my heels I ran to those other worlds where I could inflict my pain on the people I created. The night I finished my first novel I stopped running. I poured two glasses of wine, one for my reality and the other for myself. We talked. Reality was tired of chasing me and I was tired of running from it. Today, I chase my fantasies.

What did you learn while writing this book?

I learned respect for the art of the written word. Writing is much more than simply telling a story...it requires finesse. I’ve taken time to study grammar, mechanics and other techniques.

What did you hope to accomplish with this book?

Str8 Laced is truly a separation from anything I’ve read before. As an avid reader I hoped to accomplish writing a story would take readers to new outlandish places.

Which character did you have the most fun writing about?

I enjoy writing villains. Their agendas are intense. The passion a villain has about their every desire excites me in ways that are hard to describe. I’m definitely the villain’s sidekick throughout the novel. Regardless of their endeavor I want them to succeed...at least for the moment. My religious convictions leave me conflicted. In the end I feel forced to compose the villain’s swan song.

What has surprised you most about becoming a published author?

How quickly it would take complete control of my life.

What aspect of writing do you love the best, and which do you hate the most?

When my characters step in and take over the story completely. I absolutely love that part. They take over me completely. I work with an outline and my characters sometimes deviate from the plan. I’m then forced to walk away from the story to rethink things through. I hate when that happens because it slows down my flow. No offense to editors, but, I really hate the editing process. I have tough editors and they don’t hold back any punches. I’m usually pleased with the end result though.

What are three things you wish you’d known before you reached where you are now?

The downside to the publishing business, how quickly writing would take over my life and that my fears were only illusions.

Can you give us one do and one don’t for those aspiring to be a writer?

Being an avid reader is fundamental to being a good writer. Read a lot.

Don’t depend on the opinions of others. Trust your instincts. You’re the only one that can bring your vision to it’s true potential.

What one thing about writing do you wish other non-writers would understand?

Every story doesn’t deserve a sequel. I'm depressed at the end of every project because my characters beg me to leave. Those that survive want to continue living their mundane lives in peace. In the end I accept that and let them be.

If you could be a character from any book you've read, who would you be?

Pennywise the Clown from Stephen King’s It. He had the most fun scaring the hell out of people. I do too.

When you're not writing, what do you like to do in your spare time?

Reading any book I can get my hand on and watching horror movies.

What do you do to interact with your readers?

My younger sister taught me how to tweet the last time she visited me. Facebook is still where most of my direct contact with fans happens.

Our theme for this month is BUSINESS OF WRITING. What were you surprised by about the business side of writing?

How fast-paced the business can be. My initial assumption was the only part I would play was to write a great story. You have to be in thirty places at once, blog, review other novels, build relationships with other authors and attend conferences and other events. And that’s just part of what we do…

Oprah always asks, What do you know for sure?

I know that every day the Lord opens my eyes I will spend the rest of it writing.

Can you give us a sneak peek of your next book?

My next project is called Lot 9. It will be out before year end. The story is based on true events. Due to legal reasons I’m not allowed to disclose the name. But, the story explores the events of what took place in a cemetery that disturbed hundreds of graves to resell the plots. The families of the disturbed victims will probably never recover the remains of their loved ones again. I have family interred there. Although none of their graves were disturbed I felt the pain of those families that did lose their loved ones…so the story is very personal.

How can readers get in contact with you? (mail, email, website)

Website: http://www.doyouknowpheare.com/

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=531077354

Twitter: doyouknowpheare

Blog: http://www.doyouknowpheare.wordpress.com/



Str8 Laced

Dr. Jocelyn Reynolds ran a successful practice in child psychiatry until the day she was abducted by a woman suffering from severe psychosis, McClaine Henry. Dr. Reynolds never fully discussed the events of her abduction. For nine years, she suppressed the nightmare until Karen, her best friend and fellow therapist, was kidnapped too. Karen’s abductor, a seasoned serial killer, reaches out to Dr. Reynolds for help, and he warned that her friend’s life, and countless others, could be spared if she just took a moment to listen to his plight. While working the case of Karen’s abduction she is forced to drudge up past demons and confront the truth. McClaine will always be a part of her. Watch her straight-laced life unravel.


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